Power outage stalls voting at Jackson Co. polling location

Voters turn out for hotly contested races in Jackson County
Published: Apr. 7, 2015 at 10:24 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 7, 2015 at 3:51 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Polls are open in Illinois on 2015 Consolidated Election Day. Voters in southern Illinois will cast ballots to decide a variety of local races.

Some precincts had a rocky start to the morning.

Miscommunication with the Southern Illinois University police caused election judges to wait to get in to three precincts on the campus of SIU Tuesday morning. Campus police got to the buildings about 5:15 a.m. The polls opened on time, but crews had to hurry to get things set up.

The polling location at the University of Illinois extension office on Ava Blacktop north of Murphysboro lost power in an early morning storm for a while.

Election judges set up early at Grace United Methodist Church in Carbondale. The church houses three voting precincts for Jackson County.

Jackson County Clerk Larry Reinhardt says he expects voter turnout to be low county-wide, but says it could be higher in Carbondale due to the hotly contested race for Carbondale Mayor.

Carbondale City Councilwoman Jane Adams faces off against local businessman John "Mike" Henry. The mayor's seat was vacated when Mayor Joel Fritzler stepped down from the office to move to Arizona. Interim Mayor Don Monty chose not to run for election.

David Yepsen, director of Southern Illinois University's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, says Carbondale's new mayor will have a lot on his or her plate.

Yepsen says the winner will have to grapple with the city's budget and work to make Carbondale more attractive to businesses and potential SIU students.

Carbondale's new mayor will also have to help the city chose its new police chief.

Reinhardt says turnout for the Consolidated Election in 2011 drew only 5,000 voters countywide. He expects a slightly higher voter turnout in the range of 7,000 to 8,000 voters due to seats for Carbondale mayor, school board in the Carbondale District 95 and Unity Point districts, and two Murphysboro alderman seats up for grabs.

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